Really? But I thought “healthy” is supposed to keep you fat-free?
Believe it, folks.
The rise in demand for healthy stuff has risen steadily over the years and as I have mentioned in my article Flabby Tummy, Thin Wallet, sustaining this need is neither cheap nor easy.
People are looking towards these healthy food selections as a means to escape their need to increase their activity.
I’ll just eat healthily and lose fat anyway.
To some extent, this can be true if done correctly (ahem, calories) but the main problem is, people still overeat these things because they know it’s “healthy”.
See how people create all kinds of excuses all the time? The word healthy can’t be defined just with the quality of the food you are taking.
How many times have you bought items labeled fat-free, gluten-free, and low fat? Have you ever tried to read the nutrition facts before buying them? I didn’t think so.
Here’s a fun fact:
A low-fat item will compensate by adding more carbohydrates in the form of sugars. This is not a generalized statement, BTW. That’s just how it is. Else, we’ll all be eating some form of a bland and gross product.
Fat adds flavor to food items, carbs provide the feeling of satiety. Remove both and you have yourself a product that will not sell. So you compensate by removing one and adding more of the other. This is how marketing companies make money from you.
Calories still matter
I know I already sound like a broken record but you already know it’s true. If you eat more than your body requires, then you know how it would end up. If you eat less than your body requires, then your effort in the gym to gain weight will not materialize.
Before we dive into that list, here’s something to remember:
Always read the labels. You need to have a sense of awareness with what you put into your body. You can eat all kinds of crap if you want to. This article is not saying that you should eat clean all the time.
All I’m saying is be aware of what you eat. And stop blaming food for making you gain fat. Because the way we eat is definitely within our control. We just need to be smart about it.
6 Healthy Food Items That May Be Keeping You Flabby
This list can be used both by people trying to gain muscle and trying to lose fat. If you are trying to gain muscle, you need more calories so you might get away by eating more of these. If you are trying to lose fat, eat less of these. Cool? Cool!
Ah, the coffee-driven population. The majority can’t function without this magical dark drink. For some reason, it makes us finish deadlines that we have put off for weeks, submits thesis papers, passes an exam…. The list just goes on! Oh, what will we do without coffee?
Here are the nutrition facts of 1 stick of Nescafe 3 in 1:
That’s 90 calories almost entirely from sugar. 14g out of the 16g of carbohydrates is from sugar. If you already have excess carbs stored in your body, how will those get burned if you keep topping it up with sugars from this?
Solution: Go for freshly brewed coffee and put some Stevia or calorie-free sweetener if you can’t stand the bitter taste. 1 cup of brewed coffee is only at 2 calories with 0 carbs and all the goodness of caffeine that you are craving.
2. Wheat Bread
No rice diet ako kaya wheat bread kakainin ko.
People say this when they attempt a low-carb diet. But bes, you do realize that bread and rice are both carbs, right?
While wheat bread is indeed lower in calories and has a different carb form (i.e slow carb), we still have to exercise control and moderation.
Here’s the profile of Gardenia Wheat Bread with a serving size of only 2 pieces:
1 cup of white rice has around 200 calories and 45g of carbs.
So ask yourself, are you okay with eating your ulam with bread?
Because if you will end up eating 4 pieces of wheat bread instead of rice, might as well just eat white rice. Because 4 pieces of wheat bread are already equivalent to 364 calories and 66g of carbs.
Solution: Choose which type of carbs will satiate you more. If you are able to stick with your diet more if you have rice in there, then go for rice. But if you know you will be able to control, then stick with bread.
People see peanuts as protein and fats. Which is true. Nuts are a wonderful source of healthy fats and protein. What people do not see would be the fact that nuts are very calorie-dense because of the fat content. Remember, 1g of fat is equal to 9 calories.
1 sachet or 5g of Happy Peanuts is equivalent to 30 calories. Okay, it’s cool. Still comparatively low.
But we don’t really eat just 1 sachet, right? Come on, don’t lie to me. We can eat almost half of the big pack while watching TV. The big pack is 100g. Half of that is 50g, so essentially we are eating 300 calories in one sitting.
This would also apply to expensive nuts like almonds or walnuts. 10 pieces of almonds are 69 calories and 30g of walnuts is about 200 calories.
Solution: Limit yourself to 1 or 2 sachets. And don’t shoot them all in one go like a shot glass. Weigh the nuts to limit yourself, grind them if you have too. Use them only as toppings.
Like peanuts, avocados are rich in healthy fats and very filling. And since when did avocados get a bad reputation in the nutrition pyramid, right?
However, like peanuts, avocados are also calorically-dense because of those fats. 1 serving size of an avocado is 1/5 of the whole thing. Eating a whole medium avocado is 234 calories, FYI.
Of course, we add milk, sugar, ice and voila! We have dessert. So that’s 234 calories + all those from the extras. Don’t you just love Filipino deserts?
Solution: Eat avocados in moderation, unless you are on a very specific diet that calls for high fats. Even then, you need to note your fat intake if you want to see results.
I love breakfast cereals. And there’s nothing wrong with them except for the fact that most of them are highly processed grains and laden with sugar.
Here’s the profile of Special K Protein Cereal:
While it looks acceptable in the protein department, that carb profile uses 7g for sugar. Is it still a good choice? It depends on how and when you are going to eat it. And are you sure you are doing 3/4 cup and not more than that?
And don’t even get me started on the other fun cereals. They’d probably have worse profiles than this one since Special K is just normal cornflakes.
Solution: If you must have cereal, eat them post workout when your insulin sensitivity is higher than usual so your body will utilize the carbs and sugars better.
6. Dried Fruit
Fruit. Fruits are very tricky, to be honest. There are fruits out there that are very nutritious but also full of (naturally-occurring) sugar.
Just a quick note about sugars: There are different types of sugars and for this discussion, meet glucose and fructose.
I won’t go into the science but both are used by the body for energy. However, glucose works hand-in-hand with insulin to let the body recognize that the food you take should be used for energy to burn excess fat. Fructose does not have this partnership with insulin. So fructose may actually trigger fat storage because it does not trigger insulin.
That said if you should eat some fruit, eat them sparingly or save them if you need a quick burst of energy during a workout.
Now, back to dried fruit. These are dehydrated versions of your favorites. When food loses water, everything becomes more concentrated and compact. Check out this photo.
Solution: Use these babies only as a garnish or maybe quick snacks in moderation if you need a boost. But don’t gorge on them so much. Or better yet, eat them fresh instead of dry.
So go ahead, have a look at your pantry and be mindful of the food labels you have. Just being conscious of what your food contains can already help you move forward in your journey.